Tag Archives: foster parent tallahassee

Saying Goodbye to Your Foster Child

Saying goodbye to your foster child is never easy.

And so ends another chapter. We’re 2 hours in to a 6-hour road trip with a 4 year old. H’s placement with his grandparents has been approved so we’re driving him up to Georgia this weekend. It is time to say goodbye.

We knew this was coming and we’ve been talking to H about it for about a month now. On Thursday, as he was leaving from speech therapy with Thomas, he turned to the teacher and said “goodbye! I’m going to see my MeMaw now!” Then this morning he gave Thomas a hug and said “I’m sorry I’m leaving. I think Sierra’s sad because she knows” and gave her a pat on the head.

On one hand, I don’t think he really understands. But then, I think I’m not giving him enough credit. I forget that although he is only four, he’s had more experience moving than some adults I know. In just one year he’s moved from foster home to foster home to foster home… and now he’ll move again.

One thing is for sure though. I understand what it means:

I am no longer his protector. I have a very official letter from the agency stating just that. 

I no longer rush out of the office at 5:02 PM each evening to pick him up from daycare praying the whole way that he got a green and we don’t have to sit through another parent-teacher conference.

I no longer spend Saturday mornings building robots out of giant legos. Or assembling paw patrol puzzles or dancing around the living room to Hakuna Matata.

I won’t spend my lunch breaks at Target shopping for superhero T-shirts. There will be no more About Me posters to assemble for Pre-k. The letter magnets on the fridge have been packed up and I won’t practice counting out loud to 20, so he can hear the order of 14-15-16 and get it right next time.

But I can also walk into a grocery store without panic building in the pit of my stomach because there won’t be a 4 year old who takes his shoe off and throws it at me. There will be no more scratching or biting or trying to jump out of a moving car either.

Yes, part of me is so, so relieved this chapter is over.

But I am also sad.

And I am scared, because I don’t know what the future holds for this dear, sweet, broken little boy. I no longer have control.

But then, as a foster parent, you never really do.

Parenting Poop Stories, Chapter 2: Poop There It Is

size 10 red and blue boys shoes

Well gang, it was bound to happen. My sister got the brunt of poop-pocalypse when H first arrived but it was only a matter of time before I had a poop-scapade of my own. 

We thought we had everything under control after the first incident. After much googling and deliberation we had found the culprit! Clearly it was the excessive amounts of juice H drinks. 

Seriously though, if he hadn’t JUST got a physical (is it called a check-up with kids?) I would be concerned because I swear he drinks a gallon a day. One night, he had an accident and you couldn’t even tell because it was clear. It didn’t even smell (overshare), because it was that watered down.

Anyways, much to H’s dismay, we reduced the amount of juice. First, we bought the 50% less sugar option (which is probably just a marketing scheme to sell pre-watered down apple juice for an extra dollar to the health-conscious moms out there). And then we took it a step further and began watering down the already reduced apple juice. 

It worked! Or so we thought…

The Poop-cident

On Thursday, I got a call from the daycare. H had “had an accident” and “they cleaned him up as best they could but it would probably be best if I came and got him.”

Yikes.

When I arrived, H was wearing the spare set of clothes I had packed for him. The teacher told me “she just went ahead and put the dirty ones in this bag” and literally handed me a bag full of shit. 

(Ok I KNOW I said my New Years resolution was to stop cussing and I have done a pretty good job but I get a free pass with this one. I was handed a bag of shit!)

I looked at her and said “you kept this?” 

She replied “oh ya, some parents get really mad when we throw things out.”

I look down at H, who seems totally fine and unbothered and realize he isn’t wearing shoes. 

The teacher points to the bag. “It kind of went everywhere so I just put the shoes in there with the rest of it”.

The Post-poop Shower

We get home and naturally, H doesn’t want to take a bath. So I tell him we can go in the pool IF we take a shower in the outdoor shower first. That wasn’t enough so I told him he could also play with the hose. 

So, I am standing outside my house in a mis-matched bikini. It was the only thing I could grab and change into in the .5 seconds I had before a child and a dog came barging into the bathroom. I am holding red and blue avenger shoes with the soles covered in poop in one hand and a soapy loofah in the other. 

H runs around butt naked in the back yard spraying bugs with the garden hose while I chase him with the soapy loofah, which is a hilarious game in his head. 

little boy eats popsicle in the backyard after the poop-scapade from earlier in the day
H enjoys a popsicle after we’ve showered and mentally recovered from the poop-scapade

I am trying to keep my “game face on” because if he realizes I am literally trying to control my gag reflex, he might realize it’s not a game and the gleeful hose spraying and loofah scrubbing will turn into a loud, poopy, grass rolling nightmare. 

Once I get him to a satisfactory level of clean, I turn to the shoes.

My first reaction was to pitch them straight into the garbage with the clothes. Kids’ shoes aren’t THAT expensive. But H loves these shoes. And more than that, I closed my eyes and imagined the tears and screaming that were sure to ensue when we put on the gray shoes. Every. Single. Morning. 

“Fireworks”

So, I grabbed the hose and started spraying them down. But then I hear a little voice behind me: “I wanna do it! I wanna do it.” 

I sigh and hand him the hose.

His little uncoordinated hands grab the hose. He puts 3 fingers over the water to give it a spraying effect. And, he as he sprays the soles of his red and blue shoes, flecks of poop loosen from the bottom and fly into the air and all over our clean bodies…almost like fireworks on New Years.

What a way to ring in a Thursday. 

Poop-apocalypse: A True Parenting Story

This is a guest post by my sister, Rita Spann. She’s hilarious. For more of her laugh-out-loud content, follow her on Instagram: @ritas.digest

Parenting is going on quests and cleaning up poop
Rita and H go on a “quest for the green diamond”

I can’t believe it’s only been a week. I’m watching H pretend a chunk of cheese is a pirate ship at the dining table. He’s taking a brief break from playing to scarf down some lunch.  His legos are spread out all over the living room, there’s a tent set up in his bedroom and there are crayon marks on the coffee table. Lucy and Thomas’s home is now officially a kid zone. 

Having a front row seat to this seismic shift in my big sister’s life has been wild. 

Becoming a Parent

This time last week, Lucy and I were putting new sheets on H’s bed. She said “Should I have washed these?  I mean, I guess I’ll probably be changing them soon. I think little boys are pretty dirty.”

I said “But don’t kids take baths every night?”

Lucy responded “Ugh. I think so. That seems pretty excessive. But I don’t know, they are pretty low to the ground…”

I started cracking up. “Low to the ground?!? Are you ready for this?

Lucy shrugged. “We’ll see.”

When Thomas got home that night he got started installing a baby gate at the foot of the stairs while Lucy read a book about raising kids who have experienced trauma called “The Connected Child” out loud to him. 

Between my sister the planner and her husband the doer, they were going to be as ready as possible.

The Truth About Parenthood

I think the truth is, no one is really ready for parenthood regardless of the circumstances. I realize that this isn’t a particularly hot take, but bearing witness to H’s first week here and watching Lucy and Thomas learn-on-the-go has brought that fact into glaring focus for me. Figuring out what to feed him, teaching him to wash his hands,  setting up a bedtime routine. They’re doing an incredible job, but I mean, how can anyone know how to do all this stuff? But once you have a kid and it needs to eat, and be clean, and go to bed, it turns out you have no choice but to figure it all out.  

And now that I’m on the topic of “having no choice” and “figuring it out on the go”, I happened to have an opportunity to rise to the parenting challenge myself this week. 

H arrived last Friday. We three adults played with him and got to know him all weekend and then Lucy and Thomas went back to work on Monday. H couldn’t start his new daycare until after MLK Day so I happily volunteered to spend the day with him. 

We woke up and said goodbye to Lucy and Thomas and I made H some scrambled eggs, bacon, and apple juice.  He was eating his breakfast and watching a cartoon (allowed on weekends and, if I’m babysitting, holidays) when all of a sudden he jumped up and said “I have to go to the bathroom!” and darted full speed out of the room. I ran after him and by the time I got on the scene his pants were down and he was peeing in the toilet, liquid poop was shooting out of his butt, and he was bawling.

Poop-splosion: A Part of Parenting

Nothing in my life so far equipped me for this situation.

I had literally no idea what to address first, the tears or the poop. I took a deep breath and opted for tears.

“It’s okay buddy! Accidents happen. Let’s get you out of these clothes.”

I stripped the still sobbing kiddo down and set him in the bathtub.

“It’s okay buddy. We’re gonna get you all cleaned up!”

Gagging, I mopped up the bulk of the poop so I could get next to the tub.

“You don’t have to cry H, we’re gonna get you all cleaned up.”

I turned the faucet on, stood him up, and poured cups of water over his little legs and scrubbed him down. Once I got him cleaned up I ran the bath water and he sat down, stopped crying, and started playing with a toy boat.  Tears handled, I got to work cleaning and disinfecting. 

I told H “You see, no big deal. But next time we’re going to go to the bathroom earlier, aren’t we? We’re going to go in the toilet, not the floor, right?”

After the impromptu morning bath we took a walk with the dog, went on some quests, played hide-and-seek, ate lunch, and had a generally excellent day all around. And just before Lucy and Thomas got home there was another poop. This one solid, and in the toilet.

And I was MORE than prepared to deal with it.